Monday, November 24, 2008

Dream Feeds

The kids pass out cold before they finish their bottles at bedtime.  It doesn't matter if we start them at 7 pm (their "bedtime"), 6:30 pm or 6 pm. It doesn't matter if they just woke up from their afternoon nap.  4 ounces each and that's it.  Except then Ned is up by midnight since he can't seem to last more than 6 hours.  Husband and I have taken to listening for noises over the monitor and then running up if they stir to get them to take another ounce or two.  I'm a little worried that they will get used to these unexpected mini-meals even though they are asleep (but we do pick them up).  What do my readers think? 

I also am working on my post about Weissbluth's book.  I do agree with his hypothesis that "sleep" is more a brain function than one of amount ate during the day or weight. Penny sleep so much longer than Ned and she eats so little and weighs less than 10.5 lbs.  Ned is over 12 lbs and gets all the ounces that are recommended for sleeping through the night.  


Liz Jimenez said...

I also don't buy into the weight/food theory with regards to good sleep. I mean, sure, the little newborns need to eat frequently. But once they're past the brand-new phase and are clearly healthy and eating, then I don't think a certain weight or number of ounces is the magic key to sleeping through the night.

My vote on the trying to get them to take another ounce when they stir - don't do it. I did, for a while, and I think it only fed into (no pun intended) their later dependence on the bottle to fall asleep. So I would say, let them stir, and try to get them back to sleep without the bottle until you actually think it's time for them to eat again. Then, they should hopefully be hungrier and take a "real" bottle instead of a measly ounce or so.

That was my experience, anyways. We were paranoid about Rebecca getting enough food, so we'd try to give her more any time she made a peep. It wasn't long before they were both dependent on the bottle to get back to sleep, and waking twice a night up through six months old. :-)

LauraC said...

I think you will appreciate this. We put together a spreadsheet of total ounces consumed per day versus number of hours in the first big sleep of the night. We had three months of data when we put the spreadsheets together. The corrollation = NONE! (R2 = 0.10).

Alex was always a little eater. We had to fight to get him to finish 4 ounces, and he never had more than a 6 oz bottle, even at a year old. Nate was always a big eater. He would gulp down an entire 8 oz bottle in one feeding then do it again 8 hours later.

Oddly, they always weighed within 6 oz of each other!! And completely opposite of what you would expect, Alex was a much better sleeper than Nate.

Still today, the boys have the same tendencies in eating. We have to cut up Nate's food bc he jams huge amounts in and barely chews. Alex picks and picks and picks for up to an hour, slowly eating bites. He would be a snacker if we let him.

Oh yeah, they are still within 8 oz of each other!

LauraC said...

Oh yeah, on the dream feed thing. My friends who did it always had a problem figuring out when to stop the dream feeds. Once they got a good routine going, it was hard to say when it was a good time to stop dream feeing. Something to think about when making your decision.

Stacey said...

I love that LauraC did a regression analysis. I am so that type of person as well! Now that the twins are over 3 months isn't it OK to stop catering to them at night? Damn, I only get 12 weeks off so if I can't do that I am going to be a very grumpy employee!

Rhonda said...

We did a dream feed with our girls. We put them to bed awake and the never had depended on their bottles to go to sleep.

We gave them their last "daytime" bottle at 7pm. We put them into their cribs awake and they fell asleep on their own. The woke up at 4am to eat and then they'd go back to sleep until 7 or 8am. Since we preferred sleeping from 11-7 without getting up at 4am, we tried the dream feed. We didn't wait for a fuss or stir. We just went in at exactly 11pm, picked them up and gave them their bottles. They didn't really get it for the first week or so, but after that, they drank their 11pm bottles and slept through 'til morning.
We stopped the dream feed, when they stopped accepting the bottle at 11pm. They literally refused to open their mouths for it. It never created any sleep associations. Maybe my children are weird, but nothing we've ever done to solve our short term problems has created any sort of dependence. We just let them outgrow the phase and we moved on to the next one, changing our strategies as needed.

Donna said...

I'm not sure about the dream feeding. I do it now - I actually go into DS2 bedroom, take him out of the crib, nurse him and put him down. He doesn't have to be stirring for me to do this. I do it before bed. Any night I don't do it, he sleeps through! How does that work?!?! Anyway, I look at doing it to keep my supply up and that is it, since I loathe pumping (typed as I sit here pumping).

Krissy said...

My kids must have been really eager, because they would nurse/take bottles while asleep. Seriously, my son would konk out and still finish his bottle. Little porker gained 10 lbs in the first 4 months.

I wish I could offer some helpful advice, but I can't even remember the details of that time. I think the sleep deprivation erased it.

Hang in there! You will get good sleep at some point. Promise. But I recall quite vividly thinking that I understood while the military uses sleep deprivation as a form of torture.

Anonymous said...

My son is 7 weeks old and he was going to bed at 7p and getting up at 12 or 1 to eat. And again at 4 or 5am. I struggled to keep him up until 10p (very VERY hard) but now he sleeps from 10p until 3 or 4 am, which is great. I find rocking him back to sleep when he wakes and NOT feeding him helps him learn to sleep an hour longer before feeds. So if I were doing it, I'd rock them back to sleep if they wake up...but I know you have two and don't want them waking each other! No twins for me, so I don't know what you do about that! My daughter (who started sleeping through the night around 6 weeks...on her own!) was put to bed around 8p and then I would feed her at 10 or 11p before I went to bed. But since we put her down to bed awake, she wasn't dependent on the feed to sleep. She's almost 2 now and sleeps from 8:30 to 7a every night. No problems going to sleep